Athlete Limelight: Kevin Kowalski, Oregon Coast Living

A hometown of hero spots, seasonal skating and frequent travel missions.

(Photo above: Staying covered up on the Oregon Coast, Kevin Kowalski blasting boneless in Lincoln City regardless of weather. Photo: Ortiz)

Seal Rock is a small coastal community three hours outside of Portland, Oregon. Kevin Kowalski, 25, has grown up on the Oregon Coast and says that skating creative concrete has become a way of life and it consumes him daily. It is literally all that he does.

"Skateboarding on the Oregon Coast is great. Almost every single small town has a skatepark, and each park was built by people that knew what they are doing. Like Dreamland Skateparks building Lincoln City, one of the best parks in the world."

“When it is nice here in the summertime, it is the best place in the world to be skateboarding.”

Lincoln City is one of many amazing skateparks on offer along the Oregon Coast during the summertime, but only one of a few that offers any kind of cover from the harsh weather for the rest of the year. When rain becomes an issue Kevin looks to other ingenuity poured around the Pacific Northwest.

Dreamland Skateparks' own Mark "Red" Scott lives about 10 minutes from his Lincoln City creation with his own indoor personal project. Similar to the massive cement slopes at Lincoln City, Mark's backyard bowl digs 12-15 feet into the ground and is too radical for most skateboarders, yet Kevin warms up on it padless by stalling out an Andrecht.

Warming up by stalling out on top of miles of heavy transition with an Andrecht at Mark “Red” Scott’s house. Photo: Ortiz (click to enlarge)

Because Lincoln City and its creator's backyard weren't enough, Kevin put his own mind's eye to work with help from Dreamland Skateparks. Kowalskiland was born.

"I had a basic plan of what I wanted –a snake-run style run that opened up into a deeper bowl–but from there we added features as we went; like the double doorway, pointed pocket, banked wall, loveseat and deathbox."

Tucked into Kevin's backyard -butted up against the edge of an evergreen forest- the skateboarding imagination is on full display in the form of Kowalskiland. A culmination of ideas created by the best and funded from contest winnings. What better way to reinvest?

"When I started skating contests like Dew Tour and X Games, I saved all the money I made and called Dreamland Skateparks to see if I could start a project in my backyard."

Skating close to home takes up a great chunk of Kevin's time, but road trips to skate drier destinations takes up just as much time, maybe more.

"I just got a car, so I've been doing some road trips to places like Idaho, Montana, Washington, California. Boise, Idaho just had a really sick park built by Grindline Skateparks— one of the other great skatepark builders making things happen for us.

Kevin Kowalski taking his frontside invert on a road trip to Idaho. Photo: Ortiz (click to enlarge)

Kevin is always traveling. If he is not on the road for his own skate mission, he is likely in the air for an international competition. Between the Vans Park Series, X Games qualifier, and Dew Tour, Kevin will be on the road more than the coast this spring and summer.

"It's a really busy year, and I like it that way. I like staying busy. It keeps me doing stuff that I want to do, [picks up skateboard] and this is what I want to do. I appreciate it all and am stoked."

Coming into 2017 Long Beach Dew Tour, Kevin is interested to see what the new bowl will look like but seems confident he will enjoy it. Twice in years past he earned Top 5, and recalled the great bowl design in the past.

A Dew Tour veteran, here is a flashback to Kevin Kowalski putting in the practice laps that helped earn him fourth place in 2014. Photo: Ortiz (click to enlarge)

Kevin also views bowl contests as staples to the space, with room for more still and variation in course builds.

"Bowl contests will always be there. I don't think we will see that change."

Watch Kevin Kowalski skate in the pro Bowl competition at Dew Tour Long Beach, June 16-18.